Top Cognacs for National Cognac Day

June 4th marks National Cognac Day. If you're just getting into the category, these top Cognac picks will please your palate but won't break the bank.
Jun 01, 2016
  • 12
    12 Martell VSOP Cognac
    83
    Fruity
    Martell's VSOP Cognac incorporates eaux-de-vie between four and seven years old, with the average age said to be closer to six years of age. The blend incorporates grapes from four of six Cognac crus, with an emphasis on the Fins Bois and Petite Champagne regions. This is contrary to most of Martell's line, which heavily emphasizes the Borderies region.
  • 11
    11 Cognac Park Fins Bois Single Cru Organic
    88
    Fruity
    This cognac was created using organic wines from the plots of clay-limestone soils on the Plateau de Saint-Simeux standing above the Charente Valley, in the Fins Bois cru. Additionally, there is no caramel coloring, additives, or sugar added to this bottling.
  • 10
    10 Paul Beau VS Grande Champagne Cognac
    85
    Floral & Sweet
    The Paul Beau label represents one of Cognac's first growers to bottle brandy under their own name in 1895. Not that they were a young producer then, their 200 acres of prime land in the Grand Champagne have been cultivated by their family for long before that. The style here emphasizes elegance, and is achieved by removing the fine lees (expired yeast cells left over from fermentation) before distillation in their red copper still.
  • 9
    9 Cognac Park VSOP
    88
    Fruity
    Made with ugni blanc grapes, Cognac Park VSOP is a blend of brandies from the Fins Bois, Petite Champagne, and Grande Champagne crus. The eau-de-vie sits in lightly toasted new casks of French Limousin oak for 8 months, before being transferred to older, used casks for a total of 8 to 12 years of maturation. After blending, it is bottled at 40% ABV.
  • 8
    8 Louis Royer VSOP Preference Cognac
    88
    Fruity & Sweet
    Louis Royer is a “big house” that eludes the spotlight shared by other brands. The VSOP Preference is made from a blend of eaux de vie ranging from 4-6 years of age sourced from Fine Champagne, Fins Bois and Bons Bois crus.
  • 7
    7 Camus VS Cognac
    89
    Fruity
    Camus VS Cognac is part of the core range of cognacs from the largest family-owned cognac house. All cognacs from the house include at least some eaux-de-vie from the Borderies region. The VS is part of its collection of intensely aromatic cognacs. The wines are distilled on the lees and a technique called "Instensity" is used in the distillation process where the "heads" that present the best aromatic qualities are selected rather than being redistilled and set aside. The eaux-de-vie is matured in small, lightly toasted fine grain French oak. Aged a minimum of 2 years.
  • 6
    6 Cognac Dudognon Reserve
    89
    Sweet & Fruity
    Dudognon is one of the oldest and most respected estates in Cognac's heart: the Grande Champagne. Here the region's famous chalky soils are most pure creating spirits with hard minerality and elegant finesse. The Dudognon vineyards are notable for not using pesticide or herbicide -- a relative anomaly in the region. The hands-off approach continues to the cellar and bottling, where the only addition is water. The reserve bottling is a relatively light color because it averages 10 years of age and is unadulterated by any added caramel coloring.
  • 5
    5 Pierre Ferrand Ambre Cognac
    89
    Fruity
    Pierre Ferrand doesn't classify their cognacs with the standard VS, VSOP, XO, etc. classifications. Using their own labeling, Ambre, their youngest standard expression, is an average of 10 years. Ferrand uses mostly ugni blanc grapes with a small portion of colombard grapes used and all were sourced from the Grande Champagne area.
  • 4
    4 Camus VSOP Elegance Cognac
    90
    Fruity
    Camus (pronounced "Kah-moo") is a five-generation cognac producing family that traces its roots in the business back to 1863. Their estate vineyards in the Borderies cru, an area within Cognac, is the primary source of wine that serves as the base for their spirits with additional eaux-de-vie sourced from all six areas within the Cognac region. For the VSOP Elegance, Maison CAMUS selects aromatic eaux-de-vie partially distilled on the lees, including some from the Borderies cru. It is aged in specially selected and seasoned barrels.
  • 3
    3 ABK6 VSOP Superior Cognac
    90
    Sweet
    Don't let the sleek, modern design or the name fool you - ABK6 is a traditionally-made cognac produced at Domaines Francis Abécassis (hence the abbreviated name, ABK6) in the Fins Bois region. This single-estate VSOP is produced from grapes grown in the chalky soils and higher elevations of its vineyards. Though this category calls for grapes aged a minimum of 4.5 years, ABK6 prides itself in the maturity of the fruit used in its eaux-de-vie.
  • 2
    2 Rémy Martin 1738 Accord Royal Cognac
    90
    Fruity & Rich
    Dating back to 1724, Rémy Martin has a long and storied history in Cognac. This marque, 1738 Royal Accord, pays tribute to one of Rémy Martin's earliest accolades when the French King Louis XV bestowed a reward of excellence on the distillery. A blend of various eaux-de-vie, this Fine Champagne Cognac is a step up from Rémy's flagship VSOP.
  • 1
    1 Chateau de Montifaud Napoléon Fine Petite Champagne
    92
    Rich & Fruity
    Current sixth-generation family member, Laurent Vallet, runs Chateau de Montifaud, where there's a history of production on their property dating to at least 1837. They operate as a rare grower distiller, with 110 of their 120 hectares of grapes located in Petite Champagne, and the remaining located in Grande Champagne. The Napoléon expression is aged between 15 and 18 years.